It’s funny how one thing often leads to another, in this case how visiting a photo exhibition led to me co-producing a documentary.
Herman van Doorn is a well-known Dutch photographer and a couple of years ago I was invited to a photo exhibition of his work in Utrecht, Holland. The exhibition was about a project he was busy with in Venice, Italy; photographing tradesmen who were the last-in-line for the various trades they were experts in. In other words, when they stop then the skills and knowledge they possess stop with them.
The seriousness of the situation sat with me after viewing his photos, so I suggested to Suzanne (my documentary-making partner) that we should make a documentary about what Herman was doing there. She thought the idea had merit… and who wouldn’t want to visit Venice on some pretext or other, right! A short initial trip showed the idea had potential but the more we spoke to Herman and listened to his ideas the more it became obvious the documentary should be about him rather than just one of the projects he was working on.
A second, longer, trip gave us plenty of material to use, which was a good thing because Covid hit just after we’d departed and that shut the whole project down for ages. Later, when everything had opened up again, we shot more footage of Herman in Utrecht (his hometown) and then all the various people that are involved in putting a documentary together got busy with it (editing, colour correcting, mixing sound, etc.).
It’s called “Traces Of The Future” and it had its premiere in a renovated fort in Utrecht last month. I’m happy to report it was a full house and everyone seemed impressed with Herman’s dedication and they were equally upset about the disappearance of trade skills in Venice.
The documentary will have another showing on Sunday 16th April in the Beauforthuis in Austerlitz and after that it will be shown on television (RTV Utrecht) for anyone who may be interested.
So, like I said, it’s funny how life can lead you from one thing to another. I had no idea when I went to a photo exhibition that it would lead to me co-producing a documentary about the photographer (Herman) but I’m glad it did because it was a (new) experience for me and I hope it might also draw attention to the fact that Venice faces more perils these days than just rising waters.